Treasury Department: Emergency Rental Assistance Is Flowing Faster, But Not Fast Enough
The Treasury Department distributed more emergency rental assistance in June than the three prior reporting periods combined. But the agency stressed that “funds are still not flowing fast enough to renters and landlords.”
More than $1.5 billion was distributed among more than 290,000 households last month. In April and May, 100,000 and 160,000 households, respectively, received this aid.
“This represents significant progress, but there is still much further work to go to ensure tenants and landlords take advantage of the historic funding available to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes,” the Treasury Department stated in a press release.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided up to $25 billion for emergency rental assistance (ERA1), and the American Rescue Plan provided up to $21.55 billion for ERA2.
The agency attributed the increase to “the efforts of many grantees during the first quarter to build their systems, staffing, and capacities to take on this major effort.” It highlighted Houston and Harris County as having a successful program because it has:
- Moved away from a “first come, first serve” strategy;
- Prioritized certain households;
- Provided extra support to people with active eviction cases; and
- Worked closely with community-based nonprofits that offer culturally and linguistically relevant services.
“ERA is helping develop a new national infrastructure for rental assistance and eviction prevention that did not previously exist, and as programs are created, they are able to scale quickly,” the department stated. “Across the country, programs are being established to distribute funds both in the short-term as the federal eviction moratorium expires at the end of July, and to support renters over the life of the programs, which – in the case of the ERA under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ERA2) – will continue until 2025.”
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